11 of the Most Rare Military Challenge Coins Ever Given

Want to take a look at some of the most rare military challenge coins ever given? We’ll show you in this guide.

Military challenge coins have interesting stories behind them. Service members played challenge coin games in bars to display their ranks and command. Veterans and active service members now use rare military challenge coins to connect.

The challenge coins also play a significant role in their social lives after service duty. They’re given by high-ranking officers to the participating members of a specific mission. The medallions are also exchanged between officers to commemorate non-military events.

A Brief History of Military Challenge Coins

The first coin piece dates back to World War 1. An American prisoner of war escaped from the Germans’ custody into the hands of the French military. The French were about to execute him assuming he was German.

He showed them a pressed bronze coin. The French recognized the engravings and spared the American pilot’s life. Active and retired members of the armed forces still challenge each other with coins in drinking bars today.

American soldiers would carry live bullets to bullet-clubs in Vietnam. The practice spread to their fellow service members. They would challenge for free rounds by slamming down ammunition on the bar table.

Interesting Facts about Military Challenge Coins

• The coins are collector’s items. You can find rare gold coins as well as cheap brass and zinc coins in a military supply or flea market. Rare and expensive coins earn premiums to the collector

• Military challenge coins open up the history of military events. A soldier allied to the American military once presented a medal to identify himself. Had he not done so, he would have died in the hands of his country’s ally. Military challenge coins are practical instruments in times of war

• There are always opportunities to present your coin. These include identification, during drinking games, and to boost morale

• Coins are used as a tool for recruitment into the military

• Most presidents have a unique military challenge coin

Each military challenge coin spots special unit symbols and designs. They also bear different mottos. The differences identify the militant groups.

Challenge coins have several uses;

• They’re for remembrance. People hold coins to remind them of lost battleships or servicemen

• They deepen the feeling of comradeship and solidarity

• They inspire and boost morale

• They’re for motivation on special occasions

The following are the best-designed military challenge coins;

1. Rare Military Challenge Coins: US Army Diver Coin

army diver challenge coinThe army diver coin is cut into an elegant shape. The coin contains different diver badges that identify the holder. The US Army Diver coin calls for even more significant diving achievements.

2. Friday the 13th

friday 13th challenge coinNavy Chief Petty Officers use it to commemorate their acceptance into the chief petty officer mess hall. The men were accepted on Friday the 13th, hence the coin name.

3. Aggressive POW-MIA

The coin spots the flag of the National League of POW/MIA and barbed wire. The flag represents the sanctity of life for prisoners of war. The crossed rifles is an appeal from the prisoners to be sent back to their home countries.

4. Medal of Honor Military Challenge Coin

The coin features a basic design. The coin is easily identifiable. People can tell that the coin-bearer has met one of the honored service members.

5. The Poker Chip

The military coins are iconic, and they weigh light. There’s a space on the edge of the coin where you can engrave a phrase. The poker chip coin is common in the Marine Corps School of Infantry.

6. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

The coin spots an impressive cut laced with a trailing gold chain. The coin is given by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West.

7. Trample the Weak

The Airborne infantry unit is more aggressive than the Marine Corps and Army. The coin symbolizes the infantry job and the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

8. South Park

The design is common. The military challenge coin is comical. It allows the holder to speak proudly of their former duties in service.

You can customize it by changing to your preferred location.

9. Submariner Memorial Coin

The coin holds a record of the hull numbers of lost ships. The Silent Service guards all the seas in the world 24/7.

10. The Classic Stamp

The metal plate spots a design common to iconic units. The president-flying HMX-1 marine helicopter squadron delivered the Classic Stamp.

11. The Mickey Mouse Challenge Coin

Mickey Mouse Challenge CoinThe Mickey Mouse Challenge Coin is a copyrighted disc that is a bit comical. The Naval Air Warfare Center issue is different from other coins which represent violence and cut in the adult world. The coin is a reminder to take a 40-minute drive to Walt Disney World.

Other Rare Military Challenge Coins

Active military service members and veterans can seek a variety of rare challenge coins. Custom challenge coins are also available for government officials and civilians. Presidential challenge coins are the most unusual challenge coins ever.

Since Bill Clinton, presidents give custom coins to military personnel, wounded soldiers and their families. The challenge coins are transferred discretely and with honor.

Challenge coins today go beyond ranks and missions in the military. Guests to the White House and foreign dignitaries receive minted coins as tokens of respect and hospitality.

The Executive Branch made rare challenge coins for Joe Biden and Dick Cheney. Typical coins are also available for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. Modern manufacturing methods make for intricate and colorful military challenge coins.

Other coins include Tickets for sailors and the Clear Challenge Coin.

Final Word

Rare military challenge coins represent deep affiliation to service. The coin bearers use them for identity and as a sign of brotherhood. Unit members swap, gift, and gather military challenge coins between themselves.

The artists who mint the challenge coins often have a background in the military. They understand military slang and the culture of service in the Armed Forces. That’s why it’s easy for them to develop custom challenge coins on special order.

For more tips and information, please explore the other sections of our blog.

 

Can You Rise to the Challenge of a Coin Check?

Wondering what a coin check is and what the rules are? We’ll explain it all in this guide.

The actual history of challenge coins is widely debated amongst military scholars. But one thing is clear: the coin check.

In this article, we’ll discuss the “coin check,” and some of the origins of it. We’ll also discuss some of the rules, and where they may vary from work culture to work culture or from military station to station.

It is important to remember that these rules are not necessarily set in stone because we know that the origins are tenuous. Therefore, if you want to initiate a coin challenge tradition within your ranks, it is important that everyone knows the rules before proceeding.

Coin checks often take place in bars, so it’s better to establish the rules before you start drinking so that there isn’t a drunken fight later.

Read on for more information on coin checks.

Where Did Challenge Coins Come From?

As stated previously, the history of challenge coins is widely debated. So much so, that historians can’t settle on where the coins came from. But they do know that they’re now popular in the military and with those who work with and serve a sitting president.

One story states that the challenge coin originated in World War I when many men joined up for an adventure, not really understanding what war would entail. An especially excited one decided to mint coins for his regiment, which they could all keep as a memento following the war.

It turned out that one of the men was shot down over Germany and taken as a POW. He escaped, with nothing to identify him but the coin from his regiment around his neck. In this case, it was put into a leather pouch instead of hung like a necklace.

Once he reached France, they were convinced he was a spy because of his limited understanding of French. They decided to execute him.

As luck would have it, someone recognized the challenge coin and the regiment, and the man was ultimately spared.

While we don’t know how true this is, we do know it is one of the most popular challenge coin origin stories.

Coin Check Origin

The coin check also has several different origins, all of which could be true.

The first one takes place in Germany following the Second World War when many foreign soldiers were assigned to help rebuild the country. As a way to pass time in the bars, some of the soldiers instituted a pfennig check, a precursor to a coin check. At the time, a pfennig was the lowest denomination of German coins.

The fellow, or fellows, who did not have a pfennig on them were then responsible for picking up the next round of drinks. This then evolved to asking for their challenge, or regiment coins. Those that didn’t have them on them were also asked to purchase the next round.

There are also some shaky origins in Vietnam and with Vietnam veterans, where some instituted the challenge coin check to keep bars exclusive to certain veterans or soldiers.

Where Can You Initiate a Coin Check?

Anywhere. It is most often done in a bar or a pub, but you can do it anywhere where someone will need to buy something if he or she doesn’t produce it. You could do it over dinner or going out for dessert. If you live in a fraternity or sorority house that uses coins, you could also use a coin check to randomly assign the least desirable chores for that day or evening.

Generally, though, it is reserved for drinking.

How to Initiate a Coin Check

If you wish to initiate a coin check, you will attempt to get everyone’s attention and show your coin. This means you’ve challenged everyone. You can do this by shouting, screaming, or slamming your coin on the table in a way that everyone can see it.

If you drop your coin, and it makes a noise, this means you’ve accidentally initiated a coin check, a consequence of not taking care of your coin properly. After this, the same rules will apply for the coin check.

Coin Check Initiation Response

The response is for everyone present to place their challenge coins on the table in front of them in a timely manner. Everyone in your party must do so, no exceptions!

What If Everyone Has Their Coins?

You can agree on two scenarios in this case, but ensure your party knows this ahead of time. If everyone has their coins, the last person to produce it will then be responsible for purchasing the round of drinks, desserts, meal, or whatever you’ve agreed upon.

The second scenario is that if everyone has their coins, the person who called for the challenge coin check will then have to purchase the round of drinks, desserts, or do whatever chore you’ve designated.

It is tradition that the person asking for the coin check is “punished” if they initiate and everyone has their coins. But, it is up to your party to decide the rules.

Buying Custom Challenge Coins

Custom challenge coins are a great way not only to participate in a hilarious coin check, but to also instill the members of your regiment or club with a sense of pride.

If you’re interested in purchasing a set, contact us for a custom quote. We can help you choose a challenge coin that you and your fellows will cherish for years to come.

6 Ways Custom Challenge Coins Make Unique Gifts

Hands up if you’re often stuck when thinking of a unique gift for a colleague or loved one. If your hand is up, you’re not alone.

Most people struggle when it comes to thinking of a gift that’s both meaningful and unique.

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. We’ve taken into account the various factors that make the perfect gift.

Keep reading to learn more about how custom challenge coins make the perfect gifts.

What are Custom Challenge Coins?

These special coins have a long and fascinating history in the United States.

Many years ago they were relegated to the military as a reward for a service member’s hard work. But today, custom challenge coins have become a popular item to award employees for their stellar work.

These days, the coins come in a variety of forms and, as a result, have impacted many different parts of the service industry. These include the police, Fire departments, and fraternal organizations such as the Masons.

In addition, the 501st Legion and other costuming organizations use the coins to congratulate members and boost overall morale.

Custom challenge coins provide a range of benefits to those who receive them. They have the potential to be a comfort, not only to recipients but to their families too.

Why Gift a Custom Challenge Coin?

As we’ve mentioned, challenge coins are now used in a wide range of scenarios. Their growing popularity is due to a few reasons. Keep reading to find out what they are.

They Boost Morale

Because of their history, and their use as a way to honor someone and their contribution mean these coins naturally boost morale. Anyone gifted with one of these coins is being acknowledged for their special achievement or their hard work.

The exact meaning can be interpreted in any way that suits the specific workforce. They can be used to incentivize good work and to boost the self-esteem of employees.

The overall wellbeing of employees is now understood as a critical element of running a successful company. Any chance to boost office morale and to positively reinforce the efforts of employees should be taken by those in charge.

Keep in mind that the degree to which an employee feels their organization values them plays a central role in determining their ultimate productivity.

The feeling of appreciation shouldn’t be overlooked as a powerful way to affirm someone in a work setting. As a result of feeling valued, an improvement in the quality of work often follows.

They Tell a Story

One of the most unique benefits of custom challenge coins is that they tell a story.

There are few other gifts that even come close to the way challenge coins tell a unique historical story. The mark a moment in history by reflecting back on a time during which they were extremely revered and valued.

Even though they’re small, they hold a weight filled with the gravity of their meaning. When looking at a soldiers collection of challenge coins, you’re seeing the progression through that soldier’s career and achievements.

There’s no doubt that challenge coins are a wonderful way to document important events in someone’s personal life and career.

They Mark a Special Occasion

This point perfectly answers the question, “why gift a challenge coin?”. Almost any significant occasion can be beautifully marked by a custom challenge coin.

Parents find great joy in giving a birth coin to mark the announcement of a grandchild on the way. The coin stands as a way to congratulate the parents to be. It also provides a way to connect parents to their own children and to their grandchildren for the rest of their lives.

Another occasion in which challenge coins are used is at weddings. Brides and grooms use them to show their appreciation to those who helped with their wedding. Wedding coins are a lasting token of gratitude to those who put time and effort into making the special day a success.

A commemorative coin is a powerful and personalized way to keep any special memory alive for the people involved.

They Unify a Team

Teams of all kinds and sizes can reap serious benefits from the use of challenge coins.

While every individual is important, it’s ultimately teamwork that makes the dream work. Team unity and a sense of belonging to a team have a range of positive effects on people.

This is one of the reasons why sports coaches, team managers and even high-up heads of department invest energy and time into fostering team unity. The beauty is that the way in which you use challenge coins to grow your team’s sense of unity is up to you.

Sometimes coins are given to a team to generate a sense of identity within the team. In other cases, coins can be awarded to a team for a special mention or reward. Either way, teams can be brought closer together through the use of challenge coins.

When everyone in a team owns the same unique coin, there’s a powerful sense of belonging that’s promoted. The effects of this are far-reaching and long-lasting.

They’re Very Unique

The more unorthodox the gift, the greater the impact. No one wants to receive a gift that’s a cliche or worse, mass-produced. The last thing you want is to spend money on a gift that doesn’t truly make someone feel special.

When passing on congratulations, showing your appreciation or rewarding for great work, you need to make your gift unique. If it feels one of a kind, it’ll truly resonate with the receiver.

The great news is that custom challenge coins offer the chance to give a highly personalized gift to your recipient. The good thing about them is that they are flexible in application giving you a broad scope of creativity with which to work.

Unique gifts are also more exciting. They create a sense of exploration and curiosity. Everyone wants to get their hands on a gift that they feel no one else has access to.

When you show your appreciation through a rare custom coin, the extent of your gratitude is truly shown.

Keep in mind that custom challenge coins are ideal gifts for both professional and personal settings. Their unique, personal touch goes a long way in conveying your message in a lasting and authentic manner.

They Make for Effective Marketing

The value of effective, long tail marketing is now acknowledged across many industries and organizations. It helps with long term visibility and brand awareness, no matter what you do.

Different companies select different ways to tap into this advantage. Some use branded clothing or merchandise to spread their brand image and message.

Challenge coins are a highly portable yet visible way to get your name out there. Coins are an easy and effective way of creating a connection, especially during moments that matter to people.

A fantastic example of this is a sports team that decides to gift fans with their own branded coins. This creates wonderful solidarity among fans when they meet and discover they both have a coin.

These kinds of real, organic connections make people feel very special. Any loyal customers can be made to feel appreciated through the use of limited edition challenge coins. It goes without saying that this kind of gifting will increase brand loyalty, as the person is made to feel truly appreciated.

The Next Steps

After reading this article, it’s clear how challenge coins make great gifts.

Whether you’re looking for a pride-inducing gift to make your employees or colleagues feel valued. Or perhaps you’re interested in injecting some fun and energy into your sports team or office.

Maybe you’re trying to find a way to show the extent of your gratitude to friends and family during an inaugural birthday or new birth.

No matter what your unique needs are, custom challenge coins will exceed your expectations. So, what are the next steps?

Please contact us for more information about finding the best challenge coins for your unique needs. We’re more than happy to guide you through the options that will best suit your specific needs.

What is a Challenge Coin? And How it all Began

What is a Challenge Coin

What is a Challenge Coin? And How it all Began

Did you know those non-monetary incentives are as effective as monetary incentives when it comes to employee motivation?

For a long time, challenge coins have been a popular way of motivating teams and developing a sense of camaraderie.

This tradition is deeply rooted in the military and there is a long history to it. Today, challenge coins are commonplace in workplaces, corporate events and even in sporting.

So “What is a challenge coin?” you might ask. In this article, we shall discuss what these coins are and the history behind their existence.

What Is a Challenge Coin?

These are coin-sized medallions given to soldiers in recognition of their achievements.

Each unit in the military has its own unique coins.

Each new member receives a coin. Soldiers who perform exemplarily well during battle are also appreciated using unique coins. There are also other coins presented to soldiers as they rise in rank.

In the military, the more challenge coins you have the more respect you garner. The main idea behind challenge coins was to instill a sense of unity and pride as well as acknowledge valiant effort and excellence.

The History Behind Challenge Coins

Though challenge coins can be traced back to the US military, there are contradicting theories as to when and why they were actually first used.

The Most Common Theory

This theory takes us back to the First World War.

Many people volunteered as the US was building its first Army Air Service. Among the volunteers was a wealthy lieutenant. He ordered several coin-sized bronze medallions to be made as he wanted to give the members of his unit a memento.

He put a small leather strap in his medallion to wear around his neck. During service, he was fortunate enough to survive when his plane was shot down over Germany.

He was captured by a German patrol unit who took all of his identifiable items. They did this so that he had no way to identify himself if he escaped. The only thing they left on him was his pouch with the medallion in it.

Later on, he was taken to a small town near the front lines of the war. He managed to find civilian clothes and escape.

He stumbled into a French outpost where he was presumed to be an enemy because they were wary of people not in uniform and did recognize his accent.

The French soldier wanted to execute him because they also couldn’t ID him.

The lieutenant remembered he still had his pouch around his neck and showed them the soldiers his unit’s insignia. Luckily for him one of the French soldiers recognized it and he was spared.

As an apology for almost executing him, the French soldiers gave him a bottle of wine. He was then able to get back to his unit and since then it became a tradition that for all soldiers to carry a unit-coin at all times just in case.

Second Theory

There also those who have another version of how challenge coins came to be.

In this theory, the tradition started in Vietnam. An infantry-run bar tried to keep non-infantry men away by forcing them to buy drinks for the whole bar if they had no proof they had been in combat.

Initially, infantry men used bullets to prove their combat experience. It then got a little out of hand with grenades and other unexploded materials.

Later on, the accepted item of proof became a medallion with the insignia of the unit. That’s when the coin check tradition began and which still continues today with the coins referred to as challenge coins.

What’s the Challenge Behind Challenge Coins?

Though the introduction of challenge coins is unclear as they were first used in an unofficial capacity, there is some clarity as to when they truly became challenge coins.

As soldiers collected artifacts of war during the Vietnam war, they would place them on the bar and see who had the biggest memento and best story. The perceived loser would buy a round for all the parties involved in the challenge.

To avoid losing, soldiers started coming with dangerous explosives. This attracted the attention of the administration which opted to introduce the challenge coins to avert disaster.

The tradition of the challenge still goes on. Any soldier can initiate it by holding their coin in the air, placing it on the table.

Those being challenged have to draw their coins in a similar manner. If anyone does not respond correctly, they have to buy a round for the entire group. If everyone produces their coin, it is then up to the challenger to buy drinks.

How Are Challenge Coins Used Today

They are still a very big part of military culture. Service men pride themselves in the coins they collect for valor and rank. However, challenge coins have also been adopted in other fields for various reasons. The following are some of them.

To Recognize the Efforts of First Responders

Firefighters and law enforcement agencies have adopted the use of challenge coins to honor special accomplishments in the line of duty.

Government agencies and politicians have also not been left behind. They use challenge coins to create a sense of honor and unity at a time of tragedy by recognizing the efforts of first responders. Even citizens can be awarded.

Branding

These days, institutions leverage the respect people have on challenge coins to promote their brand. Instead of just issuing business cards, companies are giving out branded challenge coins during conferences, trade shows, and sales events.

Sports teams and schools have not been left behind either. During sports and local community events, mascot and logo branded coins are handed out.

Awarding and Creating a Sense of Unity

Personnel and team members who discharge their duties exemplarily well are awarded coins. This boosts their morale to continue working hard as well as challenge the rest of the team to work as hard.

Institutions have also begun issuing different teams with unique coins to help create a sense of unity and belonging. This then improves teamwork and cohesiveness.

Leverage the Power of the Coin

What is a challenge coin really? Well, what began as a simple gesture among servicemen is now one of the best tools for instilling espirit de corps that extends well beyond the military.

Organizations can now leverage this power to create cohesive teams and grow their brand.

Metal Promotional Products has one of the most creative custom coin building teams in the country. Click this link to get a free quote on all our promotional products.

6 Unique Custom Challenge Coin Designs to Take Inspiration From

Challenge coins are a great way to memorialize your service in a unique way. Here are 6 custom challenge coin designs you take inspiration from today!

Military challenge coins have a unique and long-lived history, and over the years countless designs have been created. Whether you’re currently serving in the armed forces or you plan to someday, you may want to create one yourself.

Custom challenge coins inspire and honor the members of every military branch, past, present, or future. Why not create one to honor the men and women you serve with? Deciding on a challenge coin design can be tricky, though. Where do you begin?

To give you some inspiration, we’ve tracked down six unique, custom-designed coins. Take a look. You may get some ideas for your own custom challenge coin.

1. The Silent Cobra

One unique design we came across was simple but instantly attention-grabbing. Why is that? The coin was in the shape of a cobra.

How could this coin not grab your attention, with its focused staredown and metallic strength? The great thing about this design is that it doesn’t say anything–not with words, anyway. The front of the coin only holds the snake’s image. But it definitely carries a story. What does the cobra represent? What was this coin given for?

This type of coin is perfect if you’re looking for a conversation starter. If you would like to add some details as to why it was given, include the information on the back. This will allow you to commemorate the event or group it represents while still keeping that eye-catching look of a text-less image.

2. Anchors Aweigh

Military challenge coins come in all sorts of shapes, despite their being called coins. You don’t have to stick to the round look–the snake design definitely didn’t.

USN Challenge Coin

Another amazing design we found was in the shape of an anchor, complete with a chain hanging down throughout the design. Members of the Navy will love this nod to their chosen military branch. This design was sleek and elegant while nodding to the hard work of life at sea.

Is there a specific shape that would nod to what you’re commemorating? If so, try implementing it into your design.

3. Vehicle Inspiration

Custom Shaped Challenge CoinWing Shaped Challenge Coin

Challenge coins are meaningful no matter their shape, but there’s no rule stating your coin has to be round. Shake things up by going with another shape–it can be entirely unique if you’d like.

For a nod to your specific group, why not design your challenge coin in the shape of a vehicle that’s frequently used? Air Force members may appreciate a coin that’s in the shape of the plane they usually fly. Or a ship-shaped coin would be appropriate for Navy members.

If you’d rather not use the entire vehicle in your design, you can still nod to the specific military branch by using part of the vehicle. A wing or an anchor will make it easy to tell what branch the coin was made for.

To make your challenge coin unique, include your own combination of messages, information, memories, colors, and more. If a vehicle shape isn’t unique enough for you, create a shape that’s all your own!

4. Spinner Design

US Army Spinner Coin DesignWhite House Military Challenge Coin

If you’d like your design to be interactive, get inspired by a coin that spins inside itself. This coin design features a rectangular frame, in the center of which is a coin section that spins, thanks to an axis that keeps it safely connected to the frame. The spinning section could hold whatever you’d like. Maybe it’s a regiment number or the year and name of a specific battle.

If your desired info won’t fit in the small centerpiece, that’s okay. You’ve still got the frame are to include words and dates.

5. Event Tickets

Marine Ball Ticket Challenge Coin

If your coin will commemorate an event, such as a Marine ball, get inspired by looking at ticket-style challenge coins. These coins come shaped just like the tickets you’d get for an old movie or Ferris wheel ride. Feel free to throw a big old “admit one” on one side, just like the designs we’ve seen. The other side of your coin can include your commemorative information.

We’d suggest adding information about the event itself, to remind you what you were “admitted” when you got the coin. You can also add troop or branch information. Insignia or other symbols would look great too.

For an added nod to the movie-theater feel, consider making your text flow like the end credits of a film.

6. Plain and Simple

Spartan Custom Challenge Coin DesignSpartan Challenge Coin

Maybe one of the most unique coins we came across was the least flashy of all. In fact, it was completely plain. All it showed was the silver shape of a helmet.

This sort of simplicity will really make your coin stand out. While others tend to involve color, aggressiveness, or other flashy design elements, this one came across as almost solemn.

This particular coin held the shape of a Spartan helmet, but there are plenty of other helmets to choose from. Why not use a traditional shape of headwear that represents your military branch?

Though simple and silent, this design lets viewers know what branch it represents while letting them reflect on what it means. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking pin, go for something simple that reminds the barer and any viewers why it was created in the first place.

View other custom and unique challenge coins designs to get even more inspirations for your next custom challenge coin design.

Create Your Own Challenge Coin Design

Challenge coins are highly versatile. They come in all shapes, designs, colors, and metal types. The sky’s limit when it comes to creating your own design.

These six coins each offer unique ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Keep them in mind when creating your own challenge coin design and see what you come up with!

We specialize in creating unique challenge coins. If you’d like to create your own custom challenge coin, we’d love to help. Click here to learn more about our military challenge coins.